10 Best Places to Visit in North Carolina

Are you planning your next vacation? Look no further than North Carolina! This beautiful state offers a diverse range of attractions that cater to every type of traveler. From fascinating history to breathtaking nature, North Carolina has it all. In this article, we will explore the top 10 must-visit places in North Carolina, highlighting the best attractions and experiences the state has to offer. With its welcoming Southern hospitality and charming cities, North Carolina is the perfect destination for your next adventure.

Asheville: A Mountain Retreat with Artistic Charm

When looking for a mountain retreat that’s brimming with artistic charm, look no further than Asheville in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. This vibrant city offers a range of exciting things to do in North Carolina and is home to a thriving art scene, several galleries, and countless murals that are sure to pique your interest.

At the heart of Asheville lies the Biltmore Estate, a must-visit attraction that features stunning gardens, a winery, and an impressive mansion built by George Vanderbilt in the late 19th century. The estate offers a range of activities, from tours of the mansion to hiking and biking trails, to wine tastings.

Asheville is also perfectly placed for some outdoor adventures. Take in the stunning views from the Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic drive that winds through the mountains and offers several lookouts, making it an ideal spot for photography enthusiasts.

Things to Do in AshevilleWhat to Know Before You Go
Visit the Biltmore EstateMake sure to book your tickets in advance, especially during peak season, to avoid long lines.
Explore the River Arts DistrictPlan on spending several hours or even a full day exploring the galleries and studios in the district.
Hike at Chimney Rock State ParkWear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water to enjoy the park’s many trails.
Visit the Folk Art CenterThe center offers free admission and features a range of works by Appalachian artists.
Take a Brewery TourAsheville has a thriving craft beer scene, and many local breweries offer tours and tastings.

From the stunning scenery to the thriving arts scene, Asheville has something for everyone to explore North Carolina. So pack your bags and head to this mountain retreat for an unforgettable adventure.

Explore North Carolina

The Outer Banks: A Coastal Paradise

The Outer Banks is a popular coastal region in North Carolina that attracts visitors from all over the world. From the sandy beaches to the picturesque lighthouses, it’s no wonder the Outer Banks are considered to be one of the best tourist spots in North Carolina.

During your visit to the Outer Banks, make sure to indulge in fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants. You can also enjoy a range of water sports like jet skiing, kayaking, and parasailing. And, of course, don’t miss out on the iconic Wright Brothers National Memorial to learn about the history of aviation in America.

One of the best parts about visiting the Outer Banks is the stunning nature all around. Take a walk along the beach, watch the sunrise or sunset, or go fishing on the pier. The options are endless and the view is always breathtaking.

Best Tourist Spots in North Carolina

The Outer Banks are home to a variety of historic lighthouses that are worth visiting, such as the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Bodie Island Lighthouse. These landmarks are impressive feats of architecture that have stood the test of time.

Overall, the Outer Banks is a must-see spot in North Carolina that offers a perfect mix of adventure, history, and relaxation. Enjoy all the unique experiences the Outer Banks has to offer during your North Carolina travel guide.

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park: A Nature Lover’s Paradise

As one of the top tourist destinations in North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit spot for nature enthusiasts. Explore North Carolina’s most visited national park and revel in its unmatched natural beauty, spanning over 500,000 acres of pristine wilderness on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. Traverse lush forests teeming with diverse wildlife, including black bears, elk, and deer.

Embark on a thrilling adventure by hiking one of the park’s numerous trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks. Witness cascading waterfalls, including the iconic Mingo Falls and Ramsey Cascades, or take in stunning panoramic views from high-elevation peaks such as Clingmans Dome and Mount LeConte.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a host of recreational activities, such as fishing, camping, and horseback riding, ensuring visitors will have an unforgettable experience. Whether observing the vibrant fall foliage or attending the synchronous firefly event, there is something for everyone in this stunning natural playground.

Explore North Carolina and visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, preserving one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world.

Wilmington: Rich History and Coastal Charm

If you’re looking for a city full of southern charm and historic significance, Wilmington should be at the top of your list of North Carolina attractions. There’s a lot of history to discover in Wilmington, from the Bellamy Mansion Museum to the battleship USS North Carolina.

Stroll through the charming historic district and take in the beautiful architecture of the homes and buildings. Be sure to visit the Riverwalk, where you can enjoy stunning views of the Cape Fear River.

Wilmington also offers a variety of outdoor activities, with nearby beaches and parks. The Carolina Beach State Park is only a short drive away, where you can hike the trails or relax on the beach.

North Carolina attractions

“Wilmington is one of the most beautiful cities in the Southeastern United States.” – Peter Greenberg

Top Things to Do in Wilmington

Visit the Bellamy Mansion MuseumA stunning antebellum mansion with guided tours and exhibits on Wilmington’s rich history.
Explore the battleship USS North CarolinaAn iconic World War II battleship docked on the Cape Fear River, with self-guided tours and exhibits on naval history.
Walk the RiverwalkA scenic boardwalk along the Cape Fear River, with shops, restaurants, and beautiful views.
Relax at Carolina Beach State ParkA picturesque state park with hiking trails, picnic areas, and a white sand beach.

With its rich history, beautiful scenery, and endless activities, Wilmington is a must-see destination in North Carolina.

Durham: A Cultural Hub with Historic Sites

As you explore North Carolina tourism, don’t miss the vibrant city of Durham. This bustling metropolis is home to renowned universities and historic sites that showcase the region’s rich cultural heritage.

One of the must-visit places in North Carolina is the American Tobacco Historic District, a beautifully renovated complex that features shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Take a stroll through this area and take in the architecture and history of this former tobacco factory.

North Carolina tourism

Art enthusiasts should visit the Nasher Museum of Art, located on the Duke University campus. This world-class museum features contemporary art exhibits and collections of African and African-American art.

After a day of exploring Durham’s cultural offerings, enjoy a meal at one of the city’s many eclectic dining options. From barbeque and burgers to international cuisine and farm-to-table fare, Durham has something to suit every taste.

Charlotte: The Queen City of North Carolina

Head to Charlotte, also known as the Queen City, for a perfect blend of modernity and Southern charm. Home to tech companies, sports teams, and many fascinating museums, Charlotte offers diverse experiences to visitors. If you’re a racing enthusiast, don’t miss a chance to visit The NASCAR Hall of Fame or attend a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

North Carolina travel guide

For an evening out, explore the bustling Uptown district, packed with top-notch restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. If you’re into history, visit the Levine Museum of the New South or go for a stroll along the city’s historic Fourth Ward. Charlotte also has many public parks, including Freedom Park, which hosts outdoor concerts and festivals.

Blue Ridge Parkway: Scenic Drives and Outdoor Adventures

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a must-visit destination in North Carolina, offering a scenic drive through the Appalachian Mountains.

This breathtaking route provides spectacular views of the mountain landscape and a chance to explore charming mountain towns.

Whether you prefer hiking, biking, or simply taking in the fresh air, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the perfect place for outdoor adventures.

Along the way, you can stop at overlooks to enjoy the stunning vistas, go camping, or explore the numerous hiking trails.

Be sure to visit some of the charming mountain towns such as Boone, Blowing Rock, and Asheville. These towns offer a variety of cultural and culinary experiences that capture the essence of North Carolina.

Must-visit places in North Carolina

“The Blue Ridge Mountains are a place where you can slow down and take a step back in time, a place where you can truly appreciate the beauty of nature.”

Greensboro: History, Culture, and Gardens

Visit Greensboro, one of the best tourist spots in North Carolina, where history, culture, and nature meet in perfect harmony. Start by exploring the Greensboro Science Center and immerse yourself in the wonders of the animal kingdom, marine life and learn about the stars. Stroll through the lush Greensboro Arboretum and discover the beauty of hundreds of native plants to North Carolina, including dogwoods and azaleas.

Greensboro Science CenterA world of scientific discovery for the whole family, featuring an aquarium, museum, and zoo.
Greensboro ArboretumA tranquil oasis with hundreds of plants and exquisite seasonal blooms, perfect for a leisurely stroll and family picnics.
International Civil Rights Center & MuseumLearn about the history of the Civil Rights movement in Greensboro and beyond, with interactive exhibits, films, and guided tours.

History buffs should not miss the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, where they can learn about the civil rights movement and witness firsthand the powerful and impactful protests that took place in Greensboro, a historic landmark.

With its combination of history, culture, and nature, Greensboro should be at the top of your list of places to go in North Carolina.

Best tourist spots in North Carolina

Raleigh: Southern Hospitality and Modern Attractions

As you continue to explore the top tourist destinations in North Carolina, be sure to visit the bustling capital city of Raleigh. Combining Southern hospitality with modern attractions, Raleigh is a city that has something to offer every traveler.

Top Tourist Destinations in North Carolina

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

One of the must-visit attractions in Raleigh is the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The largest museum of its kind in the Southeast, this museum is home to a variety of exhibits showcasing the state’s rich natural history and biodiversity. From dinosaur fossils to live animals, there’s something for everyone.

North Carolina State Capitol

Another landmark not to be missed is the North Carolina State Capitol. Completed in 1840, it’s one of the state’s most historic buildings and a symbol of North Carolina’s rich political and cultural heritage. Take a tour and learn about the state’s government and history while admiring the impressive Greek Revival architecture.

Pullen Park

If you’re looking for outdoor fun, look no further than Pullen Park. This expansive park features walking trails, paddle boats, and a historic carousel. It’s the perfect spot for a family picnic or a leisurely stroll.

Experience the perfect blend of past and present when you visit Raleigh, one of the top tourist destinations in North Carolina. Be sure to stop by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the North Carolina State Capitol, and Pullen Park to fully appreciate all this city has to offer.

Winston-Salem: Arts, Innovation, and History

Take a step into the thriving arts district and rich history of Winston-Salem, the perfect destination for art and culture enthusiasts. Explore Old Salem Museums & Gardens and witness the preserved colonial history. Visit the Reynolda House Museum of American Art, exhibiting over 200 works of art, including pieces by Georgia O’Keeffe and Frederic Church. And for a unique cultural experience, catch a performance at the historic Stevens Center.

Immerse yourself in the innovative spirit of Winston-Salem by visiting the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Tour the historic RJ Reynolds tobacco building turned into a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, home to numerous startups and established companies. The district also features top-ranking academic and research institutions like Wake Forest School of Medicine, supporting the innovative and entrepreneurial community in this vibrant city.

Don’t forget to check out the city’s bustling downtown area and eclectic dining options. From cozy cafes to upscale restaurants, Winston-Salem is a foodie’s delight. And you’ll find ample shopping opportunities, with numerous boutiques and shops showcasing locally crafted goods. Plan your visit today and discover all the unique attractions that Winston-Salem has to offer.

North Carolina attractions

Fayetteville: History and Military Heritage

Experience the military heritage and historic sites of Fayetteville, a must-visit place in North Carolina that is steeped in history. Fayetteville is home to various historical sites that showcase the city’s vibrant past and military significance.

Visit the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, a world-class facility that honors the heroic feats of airborne and special operations soldiers. The museum features interactive exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia that pay tribute to the brave men and women who served in these elite units.

Must-visit places in North Carolina

Learn about the city’s rich heritage at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex. The museum is located on the banks of the Cape Fear River and showcases the cultural and historical significance of the region. Discover exhibits highlighting the city’s evolution from prehistoric times to the present day, including the Native American settlements, the colonial era, and the Civil War.

Take a stroll through downtown Fayetteville, a vibrant area filled with unique shops, restaurants, and art galleries. The city’s downtown area has undergone extensive revitalization efforts in recent years, making it an exciting destination for tourists and locals alike.

Boone: Outdoor Adventures in the High Country

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you can’t miss the chance to visit Boone, in the High Country of North Carolina. Boone is an ideal location for adventure seekers, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, skiing, and exploring the natural beauty of the area. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a beginner, there’s something for everyone in Boone.

One of the most popular activities in Boone is hiking on the Appalachian Trail, which passes through the town. Enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests as you make your way along this famous trail. For winter sports enthusiasts, Sugar Mountain Resort offers skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating, with slopes suitable for all skill levels. And for a truly breathtaking experience, be sure to visit Grandfather Mountain, with its stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and miles of scenic hiking trails.

Best Tourist Spots in North Carolina

With its stunning natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, Boone is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for adventure in North Carolina. Don’t miss the chance to explore this exciting and picturesque town.


You’re now equipped with the knowledge of the top 10 must-see spots in North Carolina. With an abundance of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant cities, North Carolina has something for every traveler. Whether you prefer to immerse yourself in artistic charm, experience coastal paradise, or indulge in outdoor adventures, North Carolina has it all.

Plan your visit today and explore the beauty of Asheville, the Outer Banks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Wilmington, Durham, Charlotte, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Greensboro, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Fayetteville, and Boone. Each destination offers a unique experience that you won’t want to miss.

Embark on an unforgettable journey through North Carolina and discover the diverse and exciting attractions that await you. Book your trip now and create lasting memories in the beautiful state of North Carolina.

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